By Camden Proud
OSWEGO, NY (August 22, 2021) – Former International Classic champion Tyler Thompson became the first-ever driver to hold the title of Mr. J&S Paving 350 Supermodified this past Saturday night at Oswego Speedway.
Driving the Top Quality Motorsports No. 98T entry for car owner Mike Barbera, fourth starting Thompson took the race lead from Kali Spaulding on lap 3 and walked away for the dominant victory worth $2,000.
“I was worried about the New England guys. They are all fast. We just got the car hooked up again tonight,” Thompson said.
15-year-old Chase Locke came from eighth to finish second. It was his third runner-up effort in three Oswego starts this season.
“I think if we had a couple more laps I could have probably closed the gap,” Locke commented. “We’ll come back for Classic Weekend and hopefully with not another second place. We’ll make it first place.”
Completing the podium was championship runner-up Dalton Doyle, who earned his fourth top-three finish of the season in the No. 08. Doyle fell just 13 points shy of the track championship to Mike Bruce.
“I thought the car was pretty good once we made it through the traffic and I got in the clean air,” Doyle stated. “I could see that we were reeling (Dave) Cliff in, but I don’t know if I would have been able to do anything when I caught him. These guys must have been hooked because they were in a different zip code than us. We’ll just keep digging and trying to get more speed out of this thing every week. I feel like now it’s starting to race pretty well. We’ll keep plugging away.”
Bruce did just what he needed to do, keeping Doyle in sight and finishing in fifth. With two wins and five top 5 finishes in seven starts, the Speedway veteran was able to recover from a horrifying early season crash to secure the 2021 track championship for RBI / Bruce Racing.
“This is my first track championship and in our first year with a new team this season in RBI / Bruce Racing and Dan Dennie,” Bruce said. “It’s pretty sweet. We wrecked some cars, but also had some good races. The last couple of weeks we haven’t been on top of our game, but we were smart about it tonight because we wanted to win the championship. I have to give a huge thanks to Rich Wirth for giving us everything we need with this 350. Dan for putting endless hours into our 350 program, Robbie the Wrench, Bobby Magner, my father, my girlfriend, and everyone on the crew; Tyler Henry, Larry Muroski, Eric Howell, and the wives for putting up with shenanigans every week. This is pretty great.”
Spaulding and Vern LaFave brought the field to the green flag for the 30-lap regular-season finale with Spaulding jumping out in front from the inside lane.
LaFave got the quick shuffle on the first lap with third starting Dave Cliff moving up into second, Thompson there for third, sixth starting Bruce in fourth, and eighth starting Locke up to fifth when the field completed lap 2.
Not far behind was Jeffrey Battle, who already rode sixth after starting in the ten spot. Fifth starting Doyle sat seventh.
The race was red flagged on lap 3 for a nasty crash involving Barry Kingsley, who took a heavy ride into the third turn foam due to a parts failure on the No. 06. Fortunately, Barry was not hurt.
Action really picked up on the restart, with Spaulding able to hold off Cliff for the lead going into the first corner, but it was Thompson who wound up going by both cars to take over the point as the field headed down the back stretch and into turn three.
With Thompson on the run, Battle meanwhile made a big run on the outside to clear both Locke and Bruce for fourth, and next worked the low side of Cliff looking for third.
Before Battle could make the move, Spaulding got out of shape in front of Cliff, but he tucked the No. 50 to the inside down the backstretch and was able to steal second.
Battle, however, got stuck up high, giving Locke the low lane for third with 5 laps complete.
On lap 6, Spaulding ran into issues with the No. 23, and just as she tried to go pitside, Battle was attempting to take over the position down low.
The two made contact, resulting in damage to Battle’s car which ultimately dropped him out of the race. The Spring Classic Champion had put on a clinic in the first six laps.
Thompson, Cliff, Locke, Bruce, Doyle, Mike Netishen, and Kyle Perry were now the front seven cars.
Right at the halfway point, Locke was able to catch and pass Cliff for second. Doyle had also gone by Bruce for fourth just a little earlier with the top five now Thompson, Locke, Cliff, Doyle, and Bruce.
Unfortunately, another great run for Cliff went by the wayside with five to go as the Barbeau Racing No. 50 was forced pitside due to mechanical issues.
This moved Doyle into third, Bruce fourth, and Netishen fifth behind leaders Thompson and Locke.
Locke closed the straightaway gap between he and Thompson quite significantly as the laps wound down, but was unable to get within striking distance of the No. 98T.
Thompson secured his first career win in the 350 Supermodified division ahead of Locke, Doyle, Bruce, and Netishen in the top five.
Rookie of the Year Perry, Brian Sobus, Cliff, Ralph Clark, and LaFave completed the top ten.
Oswego County Federal Credit Union and C’s Beverage Center
Track Championship Night
$2,000 to Win Mr. J&S Paving 350 Super
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Feature (30-laps): 1. 98T ® TYLER THOMPSON, 2. 88 ® Chase Locke, 3. 08 Dalton Doyle, 4. 55 Mike Netishen, 5. 22 Mike Bruce, 6. 20 ® Kyle Perry, 7. 45 ® Brian Sobus, 8. 50 ® Dave Cliff, 9. 5 ® Ralph Clark, 10. 97 Vern LaFave, 11. 14 Jeffrey Battle, 12. 23 ® Kali Spaulding, 13. 47 ® Jon Tesoriero, 14. 32 ® Tom MacLeod, 15. 06 Barry Kingsley
Heat 1 (10-laps): 1. 98T ® Tyler Thompson, 2. 97 Vern LaFave, 3. 08 Dalton Doyle, 4. 23 ® Kali Spaulding, 5. 55 Mike Netishen, 6. 20 ® Kyle Perry, 7. 32 ® Tom MacLeod, 8. 5 ® Ralph Clark
Heat 2 (10-laps): 1. 14 Jeffrey Battle, 2. 50 Dave Cliff, 3. 88 ® Chase Locke, 4. 22 Mike Bruce, 5. 45 ® Brian Sobus, 6. 06 Barry Kingsley, 7. 47 ® Jon Tesoriero
Group Time Trials: 1. 14 Jeffrey Battle – 16.949, 2. 08 Dalton Doyle – 17.021, 3. 22 Mike Bruce – 17.093, 4. 98T ® Tyler Thompson – 17.097, 5. 88 ® Chase Locke – 17.287, 6. 55 Mike Netishen – 17.316, 7. 50 ® Dave Cliff – 17.404, 8. 23 ® Kali Spaulding – 17.505, 9. 45 ® Brian Sobus – 17.634, 10. 97 Vern LaFave – 17.694, 11. 20 ® Kyle Perry – 17.702, 12. 06 Barry Kingsley – 17.858, 13. 32 ® Tom MacLeod – 17.958, 14. 47 ® Jon Tesoriero – 18.158, 15. 5 ® Ralph Clark – 18.415
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: #88 ® Chase Locke
Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer: #88 ® Chase Locke
2021 Track Champion: #22 Mike Bruce
2021 Rookie of the Year: #20 Kyle Perry